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Author Topic: Identifying speakers/ Mission Control teams  (Read 897 times)

Offline Naraht

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Identifying speakers/ Mission Control teams
« on: April 27, 2020, 04:34:17 pm »
It occurs to me that an interesting crowdsourcing project could be to try to gather together a list of some of the actual participants in some of the key phases of the mission.

It would be relatively easy to pull together a list of Mission Control shift changes and hence teams and flight directors on duty at particular times, since all of that seems to be announced by the PAO. But beyond that, it's not always easy to tell who's on console, given the specialist ascent/descent/entry teams that worked some shifts (plus possible changes in manning after the manning lists were published?).

For example, in Apollo 11, if you look at the manning lists reproduced in the 20th anniversary flight operations reunion book, you get the following selection:

Shift 2: Flight Director Gene Kranz, FIDO Jerry Bostick, GUIDO Ken Russell and Charley Parker
Shift 3: Flight Director Glynn Lunney, FIDO Jay Greene and Phil Shaffer, GUIDO Bill Fenner and Steve Bales

Whereas what you actually had (per ALSJ, oral histories, etc) was the following:

Descent team: Flight Director Gene Kranz, FIDO Jay Greene (who says he only worked this shift in the whole mission), GUIDO Steve Bales
Ascent team: Flight Director Glynn Lunney, FIDO Dave Reed (I'm sorry, it was Phil Shaffer!), GUIDO Steve Bales (again)

Is anyone besides me interested in trying to figure some of this out? I can recognise some people's voices, and sometimes names are used, but it's a monumental task...
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 03:03:12 am by Naraht »

Offline Naraht

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Re: Identifying speakers/ Mission Control teams
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2020, 10:22:32 am »
Further thoughts... this problem is obviously particularly acute on Apollo 13, with various people being pulled off console for Kranz's Tiger Team (including some who weren't on the White Team to start with, like John Aaron), swapping around to fill in for one another during procedures meetings etc, and people hanging around even when they weren't on shift.

For example: at 95:46 or so, Glynn Lunney is on as Flight Director and Jay Greene (whose voice is unmistakable) is working the FIDO console, although he's not listed on the Black Team in the published manning lists and wasn't on console during Lunney's shifts earlier in the flight.

He gets a call from Charlie Parker, asking "who's on the Guido console?" https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/?t=095:46:49&ch=20

Greene's response: "Who's on the Guido console? You wanna go from left to right or right to left? I got Bales, Mill(?), Wells, Fenner and Pressley."

Who was actually speaking on the Guido loop? I know it wasn't Bales, because his voice is just as distinctive as Greene's, but beyond that... well, your guess is as good as mine...

Offline bfeist

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Re: Identifying speakers/ Mission Control teams
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2020, 12:06:49 am »
Great idea. Here's a shift list.

Offline Naraht

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Re: Identifying speakers/ Mission Control teams
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2020, 03:01:18 am »
Great idea. Here's a shift list.

Thanks, I haven't seen that version of the shift lists before, where did you get it from?

They are a good guide to the overall cast of characters working a mission, but as said they're often misleading when it comes to the particulars. For instance, if you look at this one, you would think that Charlie Dumis was the EECOM on Gene Kranz's team during Apollo 13, when we know for certain that it was Sy Liebergot. I would want to have anything in those lists confirmed by recognizing a voice, hearing someone called by name rather than callsign (if you didn't already know who worked FIDO during the lunar descent, you certainly would after hearing Steve Bales saying "Jay, Jay" every couple of minutes!), or a mention in a reliable book.

The problem is particularly difficult with the Trench because they tended to work particular mission phases (launch/TEI/descent/what have you) rather than being pegged to particular flight directors. Rick Houston says that the Flight Dynamics Branch kept a record of who worked what, and that would be an immense help as a starting point. I'm halfway tempted to try to find his email address and just write to him to see if he's willing to share.

But really it would be great just to have a definitive list of MOCR shift change times as a framework to slot this all into. The Apollo Flight Journal for Apollo 8 is partly organized in terms of which team was on duty, but this annoyingly isn't the case for 11 or 13.

Offline bfeist

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Re: Identifying speakers/ Mission Control teams
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2020, 11:32:09 am »
You should consider contributing to the Apollo Flight Journal. It's the kind of place where the kind of research you're suggesting would find a welcomed home.

Offline Naraht

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Re: Identifying speakers/ Mission Control teams
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2020, 03:24:58 am »
That's a good idea. I'll see whether I manage to gather enough together to make it worthwhile, and if I do, I'll get in touch with them.